According to its Historic England listing, Little Wolford Manordates from the late 15th or early 16th century, and although there have been 16th-, 17th- and 20th-century additions, Little Wolford Manor still follows the original medieval plan, its focal point being the great hall with its vaulted roof and hammer beams, minstrels’ gallery and huge fireplace.
An April 1957 piece in the now defunct The Antique Collector describes Little Wolford Manor, in the timeless timeless south Warwickshire village of Little Wolford, as a house ‘of truest Cotswold type… a small gem of Cotswold rural craftsmanship with many well-preserved features in wood as well as in stone’.
Mixing the right amount of luxury and comfort with a Shakespearean inspired garden, The Old Rectory near Beeston in north Norfolkhas a charming moat that surrounds three-quarters of the property, a Willow tree that frames the water and a wooden Monet-style bridge that crosses the moat?
Beeston is a town in Nottinghamshire, England, 3.4 miles south-west of Nottingham city centre. To the immediate north-east is the University of Nottingham’s main campus, University Park.
Leave your wellies at the door. This 19th Century farm in rural Staffordshire looks less farm, more Downton Abbey. Sitting in a cool 404 acres of land, The Heath House Estate is palatial in all aspects (with not a stray chicken in sight).
It’s hard to know where to begin with a property of this magnitude. The main house (could we try the world ‘palace’?) is a spectacular Grade II-listed, Tudor Gothic mansion, designed and built by Thomas Johnson of Litchfield. With five reception rooms, 14 bedrooms, two flats and a service wing, you’re certainly not short on space.
The main house boasts tall, ornate ceilings, beautiful fireplaces and large, grand rooms, and is not hard to see why this property is listed due to its historical and architectural importance.
Built at the height of the wool trade, Merfield House, a spectacular Georgian house stands in 32 acres of land in the pretty village of Rode, between Bath and Frome.
The picturesque village of Rode on Somerset’s eastern border, 10 miles south of Bath and five miles north-east of Frome, is one of a series of ancient wool villages that line the banks of the River Frome. The river meanders along a tree-lined channel to the west of the village, with a historically important crossing-point at Rode Bridge and, over the centuries, it has been the life-blood of the area.
Wilby Hall is believed to have been built by Sir Thomas Lovell and lived in, among others, by Sir Robert Wilton, a friend of Oliver Cromwell, who is thought to have stayed at Wilby Hall during a visit to Norwich.
Of special interest to lovers of historic houses is the fact that, throughout its existence, successive custodians — including Russell — have taken care to conserve the many original features of the 6,183sq ft hall, which offers accommodation on three floors, each room having a specific purpose.
Of particular note are the impressive drawing room, the delightful sitting room with its distinctive wallpaper and handsome fireplace, the cheerful kitchen/breakfast room and the charming library.
Wilby Hall is approached from the east along a sweeping, tree-lined gravel drive that allows tantalising glimpses of the splendid brick-built house. To the north of the main building is an Elizabethan walled garden, formally landscaped with box and yew hedging, yew topiary, herbaceous beds, a pond and ornamental trees. A south-facing garden comprising a large expanse of lawn stretches to the moat that borders the lawns from east to west, with mature broadleaf woodland beyond.
This lovely house — Grade II-listed — was built four centuries ago, when (no doubt) all around was rolling fields and endless Bedfordshire skies. Today, it’s a couple of hundred yards up a country lane, that comes straight off the main A505 heading from Hitchin to Luton, with a large cemetery just along the road.
So not quite a countryside idyll, then, but at least you know the neighbours will be dead quiet.
Balancing the house and the location is always part of the fun with any property, of course. And if you’re after a place truly in the country, then a thatched cottage such as this one at the other end of the county — a delightful two-bedroom beauty at £435,000 — is really in the middle of nowhere.
According to its Historic England listing, the present Grade II-listed manor house dates from the 17th century or earlier, although the original manor of Morley was one of three Shermanbury manors listed in the Domesday survey.
Restored, enlarged and partly rebuilt over the years, Morley Manor stands in 14¼ acres of pristine gardens, grounds and post-and-railed paddocks, with southerly views to the South Downs.
It offers more than 6,900sq ft of sumptuously refurbished living space, including a large reception hall and four reception rooms.
The equestrian facility includes a stable courtyard with 11 stables, a heated rug room, a horse wash-down bay with hot and cold water, a heated tack room (what bliss!), a separate oak tack room and two first-floor apartments.
…Adshead Park, a striking Arts-and-Crafts-style country house set in 136 acres of formal gardens, woods and farmland in the hills above the west Berkshire village of Lower Basildon, three miles from Pangbourne and eight miles from Reading.
Adshead was the realisation of a dream for its owner, the charismatic businessman Sir John Madejski, whose ability to see ‘the bigger picture’ led to the foundation of a diverse business empire. It started with the motor classifieds magazine Auto Trader —launched with £2,000 in the 1970s and sold for £260 million in 1998 — but went on to span publishing, hotels, restaurants, radio, a top flight football team (Reading FC) and property.
Dealing with business is one thing; dealing with planning applications is another matter entirely, and it took all of Sir John’s legendary skills to negotiate the labyrinthine process required to build a new country house on virgin farmland in one of the most heavily protected areas of the Home Counties.
From the 16th century onwards, hop-growing was a major source of income in the Weald of Kent, especially around the village of Horsmonden, eight miles east of Tun-bridge Wells, where an enthusiastic American visitor described how ‘the oast-house towers of Horsmonden seem almost to plough the rich soil of their Kentish hopfield like graceful yachts on a gently rolling sea’.
Great Baynden is a superb Kent house that’s full of the sort of touches you’d hope to see when moving to a period home in the country, as Penny Churchill explains.
Such is the backdrop to handsome, Grade II-listed Great Baynden in School House Lane, Horsmonden, which stands on high ground two miles north-east of the village, with panoramic views over the Weald to the North Downs.
How do you define the term ‘household name’? It’s a tricky one. There are probably plenty of people out there, from all walks of life, that most people have heard of; but would you ever describe a politician or an artist as such? Probably not. To reach this level, you need almost to become synonymous with your craft — and the people who scale those heights are few and far between. One such, however, is Frankie Dettori.
The Italian jockey is unarguably the greatest flat racing jockey of his generation, with thousands of winners — including dozens of Classics — to his name. He was only 14 when he moved to Britain to work as a stable lad for Luca Cumani in Newmarket, and before long had earned his chance to race.
His story since then is the stuff of sporting legend: from winning 100 races in a season while still a teenager (an achievement only Lester Piggott had garnered before he did) to going through the card at Ascot in 1996 to his later years of continued success, he’s survived everything from plane crashes and drug scandals to a stint on Celebrity Big Brother.
Lanfranco “Frankie” Dettori, MBE is an Italian horse racing jockey based in the United Kingdom. Dettori has been Champion Jockey on three occasions and has ridden the winners of more than 500 Group races. His most celebrated achievement was riding all seven winners on British Champions’ Day at Ascot in 1996.